If you like to have a certain degree of control over your device (one that carriers don’t necessarily want you to have) and happen to own an AT&T Galaxy Note 3, chances are you’ve been a bit disappointed lately. The Note 3’s bootloader has been locked on AT&T since release, and up until now, no one has come up with a workaround. That all changes today, thanks to the efforts of XDA Developers member Hashcode, a name you’ll almost certainly recognize if you make a habit of hanging around the XDA forums.
Hashcode has developed a workaround that leaves the Note 3’s /system partition alone entirely, which is a big reason why this is so exciting. The workaround, dubbed Safestrap Recovery, creates new ROM slots using the phone’s /sdcard partition, meaning you can flash whatever you like to your device while avoiding the restrictions on the phone’s main /system partition. If your device is rooted and you’ve granted permission to install APKs from unknown sources, you’re already set to go. The workaround, which is based on TWRP, gives you two virtual ROM slots to use for flashing, though keep in mind that if you choose to expand one of the ROM slots beyond the default settings, you’ll have less room to flash to other partitions.
While this is exciting, novice users probably shouldn’t try Hashcode’s method just yet. He makes it very clear in his XDA Developers post that Safestrap Recovery is still in early alpha, and is therefore only suitable for testing by advanced users at this stage. On the other hand, if you’re new to this kind of stuff and want to try it anyway, there’s nothing technically stopping you. You’re taking the life of your phone into your own hands, though, so don’t say we didn’t warn you if something goes horribly wrong in the process of applying Hashcode’s workaround.
Despite the fact that we’re still in the very early stages of this workaround, it’s certainly a great time to be an AT&T Galaxy Note 3 user. There seems to be no lack of interest over on the XDA Developers forum, so hopefully with all of these users testing Safestrap Recovery, development of it will progress quickly. If you’re interested in trying out Safestrap Recovery for yourself, head over to the XDA Developers forum to read through Hashcode’s entire write-up about the workaround. Once again, you’re doing so at your own risk, but if you manage to get it up and running on your Note 3, be sure to let us know!